In the second leg of a doubleheader with the men’s teams, Maryland women’s lacrosse faced off against the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Despite some ferociousness from their opposition, the Terps had no issue swatting away their Big Ten foe, winning 16-9.
Megan Whittle and Jen Giles headlined the team’s performance on Saturday, scoring five and three goals respectively. The two captains were held relatively quiet in Maryland’s convincing win over Georgetown, giving way to Kali Hartshorn and Grace Griffin. But they wouldn’t be silenced two games in a row, and they certainly showed out against the Wolverines.
But perhaps the most surprising and influential contribution came from Brindi Griffin. The sophomore has started all year in her spot behind the opposing net, a very important position in this Maryland offense. She scored four goals and added an assist to complement the two stars Saturday.
The Terrapins got out to a scorching start in Saturday’s contest. Thanks to Whittle’s early dominance, Maryland scored the first four goals of the game, with the senior captain getting two of them. Giles and Brindi Griffin also added on, putting the rout on rather quickly.
It’s hard to knock a team for getting out to a lead like the Terps did, but there was an abundance of missed opportunities. Point-blank shots came often, but a lot of them were missed. While some credit has to be given to Michigan goalkeeper Mira Shane, Maryland left some goals on the table.
The Wolverines finally got on the board at the 15:52 mark thanks to Lily Grass, and that took the game into a timeout. Cathy Reese’s talk with the team had visible effects almost immediately, as it took less than two minutes for the Terrapins to go back on a tear.
Whittle completed her hat trick to start the run, and Hartshorn teamed up with Giles to score twice in 42 seconds. When they’re motivated and have ample opportunity, the Terps can pull away unlike any team in the country.
With a six-goal lead in place, Maryland seemed to lose its sense of urgency and allowed Michigan to fight its way back into the game. Back-to-back Wolverines goals cut the deficit to four, and when halftime rolled around the Terrapins had a 9-4 lead.
If there was any doubt, though, Whittle earned a free-position opportunity to lead off the second half. Unlike her earlier chance, she converted to extend Maryland’s lead. Michigan responded less than a minute later, but then Brindi Griffin put another one in the back of the net to keep the lead at six.
Brindi wouldn’t be the only Griffin to score in this one, as Grace Griffin kept her streak of impressive play going with a second-half goal. Much like Whittle, Giles struggled on free-position shots in the first. But she too would get a chance at redemption, and the junior wouldn’t squander it. All of a sudden, Maryland had a 13-5 lead early in the second half.
The teams would trade goals back and forth the rest of the way. At one point the lead hit 10, but Michigan kept things respectable and scored to keep the game under that threshold to close it out.
Maryland will come back home to play Virginia in what will be a top-10 showdown in College Park on Wednesday.
Three things to know
1. The offense still isn’t maximizing its successes. Maryland’s offensive inefficiency continued against Michigan, as the team had a large quantity of shots but couldn’t capitalize on many of the opportunities. As a group, they combined for 43 shots (30 of those being on target) and scored just 16 goals. It hasn’t hurt them yet, but eventually they’ll need to be more efficient—one would think.
2. The defense once again played well. Even though Maryland had a large advantage in time of possession, as it did last time out, it was still up to the defense to limit the Wolverine offense and keep them from getting good looks. They did just that, holding Michigan to just 15 shots on goal (many of those coming after key starters were pulled).
3. Time for a big test. This went pretty much as everyone expected, with Maryland jumping out to an early lead and the game never being in jeopardy. But the Terps will face another big-time opponent Wednesday as No. 10 Virginia comes into town. The top-10 showdown will be played at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.